After 17 years honing her skills as a barista, coffee roaster, chocolate producer and industry consultant, Corinne Chilcott decided to do the inevitable and put her experience to use in a cafe.
She opened Lola in June 2016, with husband Brett. It’s named after Chilcott’s great-aunt, Lola Bertram, who appears in the graffiti wall art. The rest of the space combines industrial polish (a stand-up, Italian-style espresso bar) with quirky, homespun touches, such as upside down flowerpots suspended from the ceiling and octagonal wooden shelving and tables (from Chilcott’s DIY dad).
Behind a Victoria Arduino Black Eagle espresso machine, Chilcott works with single-origins and a house blend redolent of marmalade and milk chocolate, both from Sydney roaster Coffee Alchemy. (The couple is originally from Sydney, but moved here for cheaper rent and a more relaxed lifestyle.)
There are no soft drinks, smoothies or juices, but coffee alternatives include hot chocolate from Zokoko and Chamellia tea served in Lola’s old tea set. They’re minor diversions in the otherwise coffee-obsessed environment where even the food gets cosy with beans. The peanut butter banana bread with espresso butter, or affogato with cold-brew-infused ice-cream are popular examples. Everything is made in-house, bar the Crust & Co bread. The couple even makes its own preserves; pickled vegies and jams (such as the strawberry and chia spread) are available for retail. Great-aunt Lola would be proud.